Sunday, May 6, 2012

MEN will make you dance. Their melodic, very catchy music instantly gets me shimmying around whatever room of my apartment I’m in. They will also make you get active--about feminism, G/L/B/T/Q rights, and many other issues. That makes them a favorite of mine.

Recently, I had a chance to interview JD Samson, leader of MEN, gender outlaw, and a very cool person. I thank her very, very much for answering my questions.

Andrea Weiss: This is really good feminist dance/rock. Do you feel like you’re carrying feminism onward?

JD Samson: I’m really happy to be involved in another wave of feminist art. I think I'm a carrier of the movement. Not the only carrier. But I have my hands on things for sure.

AW: Do you want to make people think as well as dance?

JD: I want people to use their brains while they do everything they do. I want artwork to always be conceptual. Not everyone has to understand, but the work I do is important in my own soul because it has multiple meanings and it is a way to express interest in what goes on around us as human beings.

AW: How do you feel music has changed since the 90s, especially for out artists?

JD : In the 90s I think people were actually talking about things in music. REM, B52's, Nirvana, these bands ruled the airwaves, and their music was self reflective and it was political. Nowadays I think we are lacking that sense of humanity. we are looking at music as a shallow background thump. An avenue of which to get us somewhere simple. Not complex. I think that goes for out artists as well. We are trying to fit in to the mainstream. Even I can admit I try. But then in the end i come out feeling like I need to be me. That's what is important.

AW: MEN is one of the most visible out bands. How do you feel about L/G/B/T/Q issues moving into the musical mainstream?

JD: Like I said I hope for LGBTQ artists to be able to maintain their own spirit and selves while being respected for who they are.

AW: Who are your influences.

JD: Tribe-8. Talking Heads. Young Jean Lee.

AW: What comes first, music or lyrics?

JD: Depends on the song. Every one is different. Sometimes I write words and then sing them to melody. And sometimes melody happens with words that don't make sense. And then I fill it in.

AW: Do you feel your music is making a difference, as in making people inspired to get active?

JD: I hope that people see someone who cares about the future. That people are inspired to move around and start thinking about how we can change. that we are all inspired to think about art together in a room. All of this I wish I can do.

AW: Are you happy with Obama on L/G/B/T/Q! rights?

JD: I think Obama has done more than a lot of other presidents in terms of LGBTQ issues and I hope he will do more in his next term.

AW: Any good music we should we be keeping an ear out for?

JD Kimann Foxman, Creep, Anika, Light Asylum, Venus X

Andrea Weiss

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